13 March 2012

Transplantation from immunocompatible donors: the first success

Stem cell transplantation made it possible to avoid rejection of incompatible kidneys

Copper newsAmericans have proposed transplanting stem cells to avoid rejection of incompatible donor organs, the BBC reports (Stem cells beat kidney rejection).

Tests of the new technique were conducted by a group of specialists led by Joseph Leventhal from Northeast Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The study report is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine (Chimerism and Tolerance Without GVHD or Engraftment Syndrome in HLA-Mismatched Combined Kidney and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation).

Currently, drugs that suppress the immune system are used to prevent organ rejection after transplantation. Patients who have undergone transplantation have to take such drugs for life. However, at the same time, recipients have an increased risk of developing hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

To participate in the study, Leventhal and his colleagues selected eight patients who were preparing for a kidney transplant. At the same time, donor organs were not suitable for recipients according to immunological parameters (histocompatibility antigens).

Together with the kidneys, the study participants were transplanted hematopoietic stem cells taken from donors, from which all types of blood cells, including immune cells, are formed. Thus, the scientists intended to modify the immune system of the recipients and prevent rejection of the transplanted kidneys. According to the results of the study, five out of eight patients within a year after transplantation were able to refuse to take medications to prevent rejection.

Leventhal's group used donor stem cells for the first time to transplant unsuitable kidney recipients. According to scientists, in the future this technique can be used for transplantation of other organs in the presence of immunological incompatibility of the donor and recipient.

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